Thursday, May 31, 2012

Solar Eclipse

On Sunday, May 20th, St. George experienced a rather remarkable astronomical phenomenon: an annular solar eclipse. For those who may not know, an annular eclipse differs from a total eclipse in that the moon's diameter appears smaller than the sun as it passes in front, causing the sun to look like an annulus, or ring.

I was amazed by the sheer quantity of people watching the eclipse. Even though an eclipse may not be high-speed, high-tech entertainment, it's encouraging to realize that as a society we still hold some reverence for the majesty of the sun and skies. While the City of St. George passed out thousands of solar glasses, they were all gone by the time we tried to get a pair.
Fortunately, we came prepared with our own low-tech solution: a couple of index cards.
If you prick a hole in the top card, you can see the shadow of the moon passing in front of the sun.
Jason's camera also took some cool shots of the eclipse.
Getting closer...
A ring of solar light. It was pretty amazing to see how the surrounding landscape suddenly appeared much dimmer. Even more strange was to watch the day grow brighter as the eclipse passed, even as dusk fell.
Since the eclipse lasted over four minutes, some people nearby were willing to share their glasses so we could get a better view.
Because after all, one can get tired of index cards.
This astronomical wonder has not reached the United States in 18 years, nor will it happen again until a full eclipse comes in August 2017. (We'll have to drive all the way to Idaho if we want to see it.)

The kids enjoy themselves from the red rocks of Pioneer Park. Brooklyn:
And the sure sign of an over-tired two year-old.
Is anybody paying attention to me?
Guess it's time to pack up and head home.
But hey, hold onto those nifty solar glasses--the transit of Venus is right around the corner--June 6th, 2012.


The Favorite said...

Jane is really looking forward to the transit of Venus. I love the pictures of the actual eclipse and of you and your cute kids.

Susie said...

Great pictures of a memorable event. I had forgotten about it until I noticed how dim the light outside seemed to be and then Charles said "There's supposed to be an eclipse this evening!" We, also, did the pin prick in paper and watched it that way.

Julie L said...

So fun that you lived right on the line of sight for this eclipse. Thanks for the explanation. I wasn't sure what the deal was. We ended up with a big cloud in the way here in Lehi :(. But it still got darker during the eclipse.

I am impressed with Jason's photos. Did he have a special lens for that? Guess I need to start saving up my money for the Idaho trip.

Becca said...

Love the pictures. We too did not get the glasses and tried to get a pin prick to work. It did kind of but was hard to see. We had lots of clouds. I am impressed with Jason's pictures. I tried to get pictures but did not work...I would love to know how he got such great pictures and if I could have a copy of them to put in our yearly journal book of this great event. Thanks.